Navigating the Unexpected

 In Weekly Forum Discussion

There is one thing for certain – life is full of the unexpected, whether something small or a huge upset in the status quo. Taking stock of how I handle life’s unexpected moments took some time this week but that is a good thing.

I must be honest and admit that some things that happen bring tears to the eyes and all I want to do is hide under the covers and have a good cry. My husband chuckles and says “good” and “cry” in the same sentence does not make sense to him, but I know there are others who get it. I know a good cry will not solve anything. It does not change the situation but it does offer a release of emotions. Depending on the severity of the unexpected happening, a good release of emotions through crying helps me sleep rather than my overactive mind racing all night, trying to find possible solutions.

Other than giving in to a pity party at times of unexpected and traumatic events, what else do I use to help navigate the churning waters of fear, doubt, hurts or anxiety? There are a few things that are my go-to habits.

Journaling helps me pour out hurts, anger, questions and what if scenarios without lashing out at those closest to me. My journal does not get hurt feelings, yell back or think any less of me no matter what I scribble across the page. By letting those words and thoughts out I often begin to see possibilities in the dark frustrating times. Not that journaling gives all the answers, for many of life’s unexpected moments have no quick and easy answers. Sometimes the answers never seem clear at all.

Another navigation tool during times of crisis is talking it out with a counsellor. For more everyday frustrating things that make my day or week not go as planned, I have trusted friends that are willing to listen, encourage, and give a hug. Hugs should never be underestimated.

I believe that ultimately my faith helps navigate life’s tough stuff. Through faith and friends who remind me of that, I get glimpses of joy and glimmers of hope in the darkest of times. For me this is key in navigating all of life – the good, the bad and the ugly too.

Sometimes pasting a smile on my face proves almost impossible but it is worthwhile to try. This improves my outlook on any situation and puts others at ease. Yes, life is full of the unexpected. As I think of some of those moments throughout my life I know that they changed my life forever – like when my youngest had a stroke at birth and was not expected to live. Normal is never the same afterwards. Journaling, friends, counsellors and most importantly my faith helped me from crashing to pieces on the jagged rocks of emotion and trials.

At other times the unexpected challenges are more minor, although they feel huge at the time. I ask myself if it really matters in the grand scheme of things if I have to change plans, try something new or whether the frustration and anger I feel will help or hurt me. I might journal my answers, talk them out to myself or even phone a friend. Always I look at my faith to direct where I need to go from here – sometimes the way remains uncertain

Looking back at how I navigated past unexpected circumstances in my life I know that whatever shows up next can be handled in the same way. I will have a good cry before I paste on a smile, journal, talk to those I trust and hang on tight to my faith. Then I will look for the glimmers of hope and the glimpses of joy in the ordinary things of life and hope for the worst to be over. You never know what other unexpected things, even good ones might lie around the next corner.

Written by: Carol Harrison; Carol’s Corner

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